Sunday, August 01, 2010

How come you revert to what is normal?

Last night I was invited over a friends house for dinner so I didn't have to cook for a change!

The wife's away so now I only cook for myself.

One of the hassles is that she expects some variety of food. I would be happy eating Chicken in some form most of the time. So the refrigerator was empty, the cupboards are bare, time to go shopping.

In the wine country we have lots of sort of trendy boutique stores. There is a lack of Whole Foods sores in the area, none in the town where we are staying. There are normal chains are here, Safeway, Lucky's Albertsons, (Kroger, A&P, Pubix Winn-Dixie, for you Easterners)........ you get the picture.

So, I get ready to go shop for stuff to make some dinner and breakfast for the next few days.

Where do I go?

Where else but Los Mares Market, or perhaps El Lobo.

Take a guess..... they are not chain stores, neither are they the typical gringo market.
They happen to El Mercado típicos.

First of all, you can get out of there for about half of what you would spend at the local Safeway.
Vegetables, fruits are cheaper and most of the time of better quality and flavor.

Besides, the meat at Safeway is cut way to thick for my tastes nowadays.
All the cuts of beef that we see in Patzcuaro are all there.

La Seniora must have her conchas , so I usually will buy a small sack of an assortment of sweet bread. I myself like the Orejas, or the Pan con canela.

The main difference is the price. In our local stores in Patzcuaro each piece of bread is about 5 pesos. A dozen or so pieces will average about 60 pesos. Which would be about $4.75.

Guess what, up here in Fantasyland, each piece costs at least 75 cents.

I cannot hold back myself but to comment to the clerk of the disparity between the pricing.
A smile and confirmation is usually the norm, once or twice if the owner serves me, I start getting a education on the cost of doing business up here.
Insurance, Licenses, Permits, Taxes, Employee benefits, building assessments and sewer tax, water and electricity, rising prices of flower,eggs and sugar......

Hey, Sorry I was trying to make a joke here, amigo.

So today, I picked up a whole chicken, with feet, which you never see at Safeway, (for some reason gringos shutter at the sight of chicken feet) half dozen bananas, 2 plantains, two potatoes, a large package of white corn tortillas, one large chili pepper, one avocado and two large baskets of strawberries for a total of 15.65

Still cheaper but more expensive than in Mexico. At the market in Patzcuaro that would have been about 9 dollars.

My theory is that a large percentage of costs up here is because of stabilizers, additives, preservatives , I call it SAP.

So, tonight I'll have some chicken on the grill, tomorrow the rest of the chicken meat will be in chicken tacos, the next day I'll make chicken soup, and the last day chilaquiles.

I love Chilaquiles............

Long ago, before Mexico eating and shopping habits, that scenario would never have worked. I would have walked out of the store with many more things that were; bad for you, packaged in quantities way to large for a family of two, loaded with preservatives and crap.

Americans have a false sense of what's healthy. They will buy something and after opening up the package, put it in the fridge.

It will last there for a month or two sometimes.

I remember finding stuff pushed back in the bowels of the fridge from years past.

Now, I only buy what we can consume in a few days. The positive side is that we eat better stuff, that goes bad in 4 days or so, forcing us to have to shop almost every day.

Now I look at that as a positive, I'm sure Soccer Mom Lindsey, looks at that as in terrible inconvenience.

Besides there is a better range of colors in a Mexican Market.
At this age, I need all the color I can get, to remind me that I can still see. Even if I can't focus real good.

I think the US would be better off to shop like Mexicans do..... but that's just my opinion.


Leslie Limon said...

When I was growing up, my grandparents loved to shop at the "latino" markets. They could find all of their favorite fruits, veggies, pan dulce and cuts of meat. I hated it! I couldn't stand walking through the "carniceria", and having to look at pig feet, cow heads and tongues. I wanted them to shop at the "Gringo" supermarkets where they sold "normal" food.

2 years of living in Mexico cured me of my aversion to the "latino" markets.

During my brief return to the States, I went grocery shopping at Albertson's. I couldn't stand it. Sure there was a lot of variety and every food that I missed was there, but I didn't want my children to consume pre-packaged foods, with all of the SAP you mentioned. Instead, I preferred shopping at the "latino" market where I could find the foods and cuts of meat we were accustomed to, including chicken feet, which my son Nick loves! :)

Tancho said...

In the states there is a movement called the "Slow Food Movement" It wants to popularize using food from the local farmers and growers.
What a novel idea, why ship stuff for 1500 miles ?
In Mexico a lot of stuff is shipped but not to that degree. I always try and buy stuff from the local Indian ladies at the market...
Wish more people did that. On second hand, never-mind, they can keep going to Soriana and places, more local stuff for me.
Tell Nick that food scientists have found a health benefit from Chicken Feet, seems it replaces joint and cartilage stuff, he won't need that for awhile though.

jennifer rose said...

"The main difference is the price. In our local stores in Patzcuaro each piece of bread is about 5 pesos. A dozen or so pieces will average about 50 pesos. Which would be about $75 cents."
---Has the peso secretly been devalued?

Tancho said...

Sorry about that, I left off the 4 in front of the 75 cents.....
Gee I thought I was better proof reader.....

1st Mate said...

After five years, I still draw the line at buying meat or baked goods that have been sitting out for hours (at tianguis) or indoors in the big supermarkets (like Ley) where they have tables loaded with fish (previously frozen) and meat. Somebody must buy it that way, or they'd start covering it. I would just go to the butcher, avoid all the packaging. In Guaymas Ley did start putting their baked goods under glass a couple of years ago, a mark of progress.

Calypso said...

Grocery bills are 25-35% cheaper here in our part of Mexico compared to what we find in E.U.

Tancho said...

I will agree with you Bliss, I wouldn't go for the chicken that I know was sitting out all day, but then again we never get to the "must have to survive" stage.
I will touch the item sometimes and find out how cold it is, but usually will frequent the carnicerias that have coolers....
My wife says that because the stuff is fresh, one day is usually OK, except to our NOB squeamish sensibilities.....
Gotta build up an immunity to some of those bugs.

Tancho said...

Another trait that keeps the money under control, is that it seems that we waste a lot less then we did NOB.
Because things are cheaper and because you shop daily, you only buy what you really need. I hardly ever buy anything at Costco in their "battalion pack" which would go stale after a few days anyway. Visiting friends I have noticed more "gargantuan" sized boxes which maybe cheaper but not when you figure you toss out some. They haven't figured out to buy and share yet.